Thursday, June 30, 2011

Baby Busey Burger

Gary Busey was born 67 years ago yesterday! I wonder if baby Busey's visage was portentous. That is, I wonder if he was an ugly baby.

"Baby's first Salisbury steak!" No, Rookie of the Year, bad Rookie of the Year. Even the best Salisbury steak you ever ate was the corpse of a cow. We're doing bean burgers instead! Without wheat gluten, because I couldn't find it at the supermarket.

The salad you see above was a delicious one whipped up by my girlfriend. Lettuce, cucumber, Granny Smith apple, chives, parsley, and some oil from a jar of olives because we ran out of olive oil.

makes 4 patties

1 15-oz. can red kidney beans
1/2 c. white rice
plain bread crumbs
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
fresh parsley
fresh oregano
garlic salt
ground black pepper
hot sauce
1 spoonful ground flax seed
2 spoonfuls water

1. Cook the rice.
2. Stir the flax seed into the water in a small bowl. Ramekin!
3. Sauté the onion with some oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. After a few minutes, add the garlic. Preheat the oven to 425F.
4. Scrape the contents of the pan into a large bowl. Drain the beans and put them in the bowl, too, as well as the flax junk and everything else. Add a few shakes of bread crumbs at a time, for use as a binder or thickener or something. Mash everything up really well, until it holds together.
5. Form four patties. Pop them in the oven for 5 minutes, then transfer to a pan and fry for approx. 6-8 minutes each side over medium heat.

Tiny Mix Tapes continues to publish my comic. This one's called "To send." I find it literally relevant because I just received a letter from my Australian vegan pen pal and need to write a reply soon. (Spoiler alert: the next strip is "To receive." It's the last one in the bunch, but if I can get my fingers on a scanner you might get to see a new one, "Desire orders.")

Saxophone Penne with Garlic Bread

Adolphe Sax patented the saxophone on June 28, 1846. (This was prior to the wacky intellectual property laws we know and suffer, so Sax's patent was good for only 15 years.) There were 14 versions of the design, some of which must not have caught on, because as far as I know from my days of playing alto (and occasionally bari) in school bands there are only 7 or 8 versions in semi-common use these days. [I just looked it up on Wikipedia, and apparently there are a bunch of weirdo variants, e.g. a straight-necked B♭ tenor.] Anyway, thanks, Adolphe, for giving the world such a great instrument and helping African Americans revolutionize Western music again. (N.B. "jazz" was originally slang for "sex," so it's not totally juvenile when I call it a "sexaphone.")

Speaking of juvenility, the past few days have been full of poop. Poopie diapers! My girlfriend and I are in Maine with her friend and her friend's adorable two-and-half-year-old son. Fun in the sun. Fun with marbles. Not fun: Clambake, a local mega seafood restaurant with taxidermy hell decor. Luckily, g.friend and friend were also disgusted. Young one cried lots and had to be walked home in a harness.

Also not fun: spotted in Red Hook, NY prior to Maine leg, a mobile pig incinerator parked outside a church!

For dinner on Tuesday we had to make do with what was in the "cabin" (actually a really comfortable 2-bedroom house by the beach) and what we scrounged up at the local Hannaford, a grocery store I first became acquainted with in Red Hook.

makes 3-4 servings

1 lb. penne pasta
1 big can of whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 medium eggplant, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
fresh parsley
fresh oregano
ground black pepper
olive oil
agave syrup

1. Sauté the onion with some olive oil in a smallish pot over medium heat. Toss in the eggplant shortly after and let it get browned. Add the garlic.
2. Pour in the can of tomatoes. Crush with your hands or use a wooden spoon. Add seasonings to taste.
3. Cook the noodles. Dunzo, bon appetit!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

On Vacation

Haven't been updating the last little while because I'm on the road. Spent several days in Red Hook, NY visiting my girlfriend's best friend at Bard. It's been great. I even met the mayor of Red H. and talked to him about the recent $8 million sewer system referendum. (The people voted "No.") Last night we ate at a Mexican place. The iPhone taught me how to say "Soy vegetariano estricto (que no come ningún producto de origen animal)." Don't quote me on the parenthetical, I haven't spoken an honest lick of Spanish in over four years. ("Hace quatro años que estudie español"?) Other things: finished reading Philosophy and Animal Life; watched Paris, Texas. Good works about which I feel ambivalent.

Going to Portland, ME tomorrow. Maybe will post about dinners cooked there.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

110 MPH Salad

According to the Internet, yesterday Ryan Dunn "of Jackass fame" drove into a tree at 110 MPH while intoxicated. There are probably a bunch of really distasteful jokes on Twitter.

This salad was good. This guacamole was better. And this sweet potato medallions. I intended to use 1 c. quinoa for the salad but ran out and decided to top off the measuring cup with red lentils. Whatever works!

makes approx. 4-6 servings

1 15-oz. can black beans
1 c. quinoa and red lentils, in roughly equal proportion
1 mango, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
bunch o' cilantro, chopped
chipotle chili powder
juice of at least 1 lime

1. Simmer the quinoa and red lentils for 15-20 min.
2. Toss everything together.

$100 Soup

Three days ago my parents made this soup. The recipe's from Bon Appetit. I might come back and jot it down at some point.

It didn't cost $100! But that is how much Susan B. Anthony was fined in 1873 when she tried to vote in the 1872 presidential election. I wonder who she would have voted for if they'd let her. Ulysses S. Grant pretty much kicked everyone's ass in that election.

Steve Lambert's $100 Drawing.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Stan Laurel Bruschetta and "Puttanesca"

I've been posting about my dinners a day late recently, but yesterday I named the mac 'n' cheese according to the day I wrote about it rather than the day I made it. So while today is June 18, this meal is named after Stan Laurel's birthday: June 16, 1890. That's because, [sic] I played Laurel in my second grade play! I was a shy kid, but my drama / art teacher knew I had it in me to be performatively dopey, and I did. Boy was I funny. No really, ask anyone!* Stunning resonance: the scene we did was in a restaurant. (I can't find a video of that sketch, sorry.)

My parents wanted to give me a break from cooking, so they spent just about two hours (and a bottle of wine) in the kitchen whipping up three different kinds of bruschetta (black olive tapenade, black bean paste and Daiya, eggplant and tomato) and a cannelini bean puttanesca (I don't know what that word denotes, exactly, but that's what my mom called it). [Update: puttanesca usually contains anchovies. No anchovies were killed in the making of this particular puttanesca.] It was delicious and I ate too much.

*That is, anyone who was present for the performance and raised me.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Jello Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli and Mushrooms

Bet I faked you out with that title, huh? There's no Jell-O brand pudding snack in this mac, but Jello Biafra was born on June 17, 1958. He fronted the Dead Kennedys, ran for mayor of San Francisco (on a platform with several great points, including requiring that businessmen wear clown suits within city limits, legalizing squatting in vacant, tax-delinquent buildings, and requiring that police officers run for election), and tied for second in the 2000 Green Party presidential candidate race.

This mac 'n' cheese goes great with some hot sauce.

makes approx. 6 servings

1 lb. elbow macaroni
Daiya cheese, mozzarella and cheddar varieties
Panko bread crumbs
2 c. water
4 cloves garlic, minced
nutritional yeast
dried parsley

1. Cook the macaroni according to package directions.
2. In a saucepan, saute garlic in oil over medium heat for a couple minutes. Add the water, a bunch of nutritional yeast, a couple small spoonfuls of tahini, several squirts of mustard, and several dashes each of turmeric, paprika, dried parsley, and salt (in descending order of concentration).
3. Simmer for approx. 20 minutes, or however long it takes to reduce to a thick cheesy sauce. Add more nutritional yeast if needed.
4. Drain the pasta, then place back in the pot. Pour the cheesy sauce over it and stir. Fill a casserole tray (this doesn't seem like quite the right term) with the pasta, then cover the top first with bread crumbs, then with Daiya cheese. Broil in the oven for approx. 10 minutes.

Move over Elvis, "there's always room for Jello."

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The First Human Blood Transfusion Pizza

[Update: My girlfriend and I made two more pizzas tonight, so the photos for this post are actually of pizza #2 from June 21.]

Last night I made pizza. And it worked! This is surprising because my past efforts (numerous; check the archives if you have a morbid curiosity) at making yeast bread have met with dismal or near-dismal failure. Since this pizza was an unequivocal success, it's named after another success: the first human blood transfusion. In 1667! Can you believe that? Centuries before people figured out antibiotics Dr. Jean-Baptiste Denys moved "about twelve ounces of sheep blood into a 15-year-old boy, who had been bled with leeches 20 times." Sigh of relief: the boy survived. (Cringe of disappointment: Dr. Denys went on to kill someone with a transfusion and was charged with the murder of a second person. Human bodies tend to have allergic reactions when forcefully introduced to animal blood.)

Anyway, no one died in the development of this pizza. But it did kill my hunger! (Ugh.) The dough recipe is lifted from The Perfect Pizza Press website.

To make the sauce: sauté two shallots in a pot, add half a diced red bell pepper and seven diced peperoncini. After those cook for a few minutes, add two 14.5-oz. cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with garlic, Italian seasoning with extra oregano, fresh parsley, red pepper flakes, and some salt. After that reduces, purée it in the blender. (Fin.) Slice some white mushrooms and basil. Form the pizza crust, top with sauce, then a bit of Daiya cheese, arrange spinach and mushrooms, and cover with more Daiya. Bake in the oven at 425F for approx. 10 minutes, then add basil and bake another couple minutes.

(June 15 has like a whole month's worth of great recipe names. I hope you'll agree I chose well.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Boozy Clergy Crispy Tofu with Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli

[First off, props to my friend Andrew for advising the use of Cooling Filter 82 (5-15%) in Photoshop. Thank god someone knows what he's doing.]

This post is a synthesis of the previous two. Unifying the alcoholic and religious components, we overcome yet another facet of clerical asceticism. On June 14, 1789, Rev. Elijah Craig, "a pioneering Baptist preacher" (says Wikipedia, as always) born in Virginia (just like your faithful blogger — holla!)... hold on. Wikipedia claims there's a precise date for Rev. Craig's innovation of aging corn distillate in charred oak casks. Well, whatever, you've got him to thank for modern corn whiskey. Rev. Craig was arrested at least once for preaching without a license. That's my kind of preacher! From his eulogy in The Kentucky Gazette: "His preaching was of the most solemn style; his appearance as of a man who had just come from the dead..." Again, my kind of preacher!

Tonight's meal is courtesy of Vegan Dad and Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Golden Crispy Tofu! Savory Mushroom Gravy! Mashed potatoes (6 Yukon golds boiled with a few cloves of garlic, mashed with some vegan butter and salt and pepper)! Steamed broccoli! Probably more trouble than it's worth!

Tiny Mix Tapes published the latest installment of my comic, A Thousand K.s.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Martin Luther's Boner Hummus

Alright, so I didn't make dinner tonight. We had leftover casserole. I did make some professional-looking fries, though. No pictures, sorry. What you're looking at up above is my snack: a decent hummus, if a bit runny. Includes chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice: duh; parsley: surprise; garlic powder: because I forgot the garlic cloves — total boner! Which brings us to the title of today's post, named after the 486th anniversary of Martin Luther's marriage to Katharina von Bora. The Catholic Church decreed chastity for all priests and nuns, but my man Martin was having none of it (see: boner). And who could refuse a woman with a name like "Katharina von Bora?" Get real, Catholic Church! (I'm pretty sure that was one of the 95 Theses.)

Why are there so many colons in this post? (Don't answer that.)

Tiny Mix Tapes published my review of Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us? Click to find out what I'm telling the bees.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Gregory Peck's Death Casserole

A ton of really heavy events have occurred on June 12. I couldn't decide on one, so I went with Gregory Peck's date of death in 2003. Not that a death isn't significant, this one just isn't historically important. (And he died in his sleep at the age of 87, the lucky pecker.)

And this casserole is handsome. It's a real Gregory Peck sort of casserole, if you know what I mean. My dad whipped it up out of thin air (and ingredients), proving that you can disdain vegan cooking and still put a self-styled vegan food enthusiast like me to shame in the kitchen. This is gourmet, even if my dad did think it would be better with some parmesan cheese.

No recipe — it's a secret. I can list the ingredients, though: tofu sausage (by some local place that's been around for 40 years, apparently), eggplant, baby asparagus, spinach, button mushrooms, black olives, tomato sauce, ground black pepper, oregano, thyme, salt.

I'm making dinner tomorrow!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Alcoholics Anonymous Penne with Pesto

AA was founded 76 years ago yesterday (which is when we ate this) by Dr. Bob Smith and Bill Wilson in Akron, OH. Two thumbs up for mutual aid groups. Everything I know about AA I learned from Infinite Jest. What a weird person I am.

Tonight Mom and Dad and I went to Himalayan Fusion for dinner. It was good. I'm not going to post a recipe for the past because I wasn't watching and because I think my mom just cooked some penne, sauteed some zucchini, and made basil pesto in a food processor with oil, lemon, salt, and pine nuts.

Grandma pointed out yesterday that it was Saul Bellow's birthday. I read Humboldt's Gift years ago. Didn't really like it. Anyway, Grandma wrote me this lovely ditty:
Grazie mille.
When the moon hits your eye 
Like penne or pizza pie 
That's amore. 
But a gauche gastronomical slight 
On old Saul Bellow is a serious fright.
Thus we historians must ask you why 
When you know he was a respected guy 
Not even breakfast?
When I asked her what she thought Saul might like, she replied with this:
While U Do the Hokey Pokey
U breakfast on 'Shrooms Smokey
With a Diet Cherry Cokey
That's what it's all about
That's the teddy bears' picnic
Now I know where my talent comes from.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dad Dinner: Death of Charles Dickens Tacos

Charles Dickens died 141 years ago to the day. He wanted a no-frills burial at Rochester Cathedral but was instead interred at Westminster Abbey. Oops. Confession: I have never read anything Charles Dickens wrote. Oops.

Tonight's dinner was prepared by my father, but I lurked in the kitchen so I know what went down. My mom likes hard shell tacos, and the kind we used have flattened bottoms. "Stand 'em up" tacos, or something. Pretty neat, actually, and they tend to collapse less frequently and sloppily than their round-bottomed cousins.

makes approx. 8-10 tacos

<1 c. short-grain brown rice
2 zucchini, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 large jalapeño, diced
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14.5-oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes with garlic
4 green onions, chopped (used these because they were getting old)
2 cloves garlic, minced
chili powder
chipotle chili pepper powder
dried parsely
celery salt
ground black pepper

1. Put on the rice.
2. Sauté the onions with oil in a pot over medium-high heat. After a few minutes, add the garlic, can of tomatoes, black beans, garlic, and seasoning (some of everything, with tons of chili powder). Reduce heat to low and let simmer until the rice is done.
3. Sauté the zucchini with seasoning in oil in a pan over medium-high heat for seven minutes.
4. Pop the taco shells in the oven (325F for several minutes).
5. Assemble the tacos. Besides the rice, bean and tomato stuff, and zucchini, there's raw red pepper and jalapeño, as well as lettuce or other leafy greens and salsa. Some corn would be nice, too, although we didn't have any. And mushrooms! Next time.

After I finished filling my first stand-up taco, it promptly fell over. Poor thing couldn't hold its weight.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mom Meal: Legalized Homosexuality in New South Wales Lentil Salad and Couscous

New South Wales, Australia didn't legalize homosexuality until 1984. Talk about feet-dragging. Oh, wait. Same-sex sexuality wasn't legal throughout the US until 2003. Talk about head-hanging.

Went on a bike ride with my dad tonight. It was way too hot (over 90F) and I was too slow. We pulled off the back of the group early. Mom had a beautiful summery meal waiting for us at home. Lentil salad (olives, grape tomatoes, chickpeas, olive oil, red wine vinegar) and couscous (lemon zest, sun-dried tomatoes). And there was mesclun mix and bread, too! It was all delicious; the recipes "look like they're from Gourmet" (i.e., Mom has unannotated photocopies). Sniff it out or approximate. Here's a closeup to help.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Anarchy is Not Enough

I recently picked up The Coming Insurrection at Barnes & Noble. If you buy it on Amazon, you only have to pay $8.21, which is a savings of $4.74 (37%)! However you get a hold of it, remember: "No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior permission of the publisher." This is a review, and I intend to reproduce parts of the book. The MIT Press can get bent.

If you can't tell, I'm not impressed. In fact, I'm fed up with these anarchist calls to action. I want to be an anarchist, I really do, but this is not (good) enough. As a critique, Insurrection is inconsistent. As a program for action, it's downright regressive.

On economics: "All things considered, it's not the crisis that depresses us, it's growth" (63). Fine. Capitalism is an assemblage of metastatic machines (a teleology without telos, I've characterized it elsewhere). But then the Invisible Committee (IC) goes on to write, "[N]egative growth would preserve [economics] as a morality" (68). So they don't want growth, but they also don't want negative growth. They want pure destruction. They want stasis. They want death. "[W]e dream of an age that is equal to our passions," they write. Their passions are affirmative, but affirmations of what, exactly? I suspect the age which is equal to the intensity of affect IC valorize is precisely a dream, a hallucination. It's nothing short of the Apocalypse (capitalized to emphasize religiosity). The IC recognize that "[t]o be disappointed, one must have hoped for something" (45). Prepare to be disappointed.

The IC want us to believe that while "[n]othing appears less likely than an insurrection, [...] nothing is more necessary" (96). I wish that were the case. But it is precisely insurrection which is not necessary. The IC should want to advocate for the insurrection as a way out (and they do in fact characterize capitalism as a system with no exits), but instead they call it necessary, which makes it the means and end of freedom. Remember what Kafka writes in "A Report to an Academy": "[A]ll too often men are betrayed by the word freedom. And as freedom is counted among the most sublime feelings, so the corresponding disillusionment can be also sublime." Consider me disillusioned.

The IC conceive of philosophy as parallel to the police, a technique of social destabilization which undermines commitment and universal truth in favor of a radical relativism which supports the metropolis. This is how they can get away with writing, "There's nothing more to say, everything has to be destroyed" (86). Of course, they do have more to say and there is always more to say. And since they're going to say more, they should have spent more time reading the philosophers they disparage (although Insurrection's philosophical influences are fairly obvious). Take the IC's criticism of those they call "post autistic economists," that they are "ultimately doing what religions have always done: providing [sic] explanations" (65). The IC is sick of analysis because they think it produces only false consciousness, that there's nothing left to explain. But most of Insurrection is analysis — 71 pages of it, in fact. This strain of anarchism is dogmatic, and that's why it's powerful (or poses as though it were). But strength of conviction is dangerous when it suppresses inquiry. (Insurrection is committed to Truth, which is a first indication that they might have a hard time distinguishing themselves from other groups struggling for radical change, like Neo-Nazis.)

The central theme that runs through the various chapters ("Circles," for some reason) is placelessness. The Invisible Committee renounce the nomadism championed by postmodern theories of the network society, a term the IC would rightly call redundant or misleading (society has been replaced by networks). But herein lies the deepest contradiction. Anti-globalization activists know better than anyone how to navigate global flows. After railing against capitalism's erasure of place, the IC reminds its readers that travel is an effective way to foster and sustain communes (which they refuse to recognize are another name for Temporary Autonomous Zones, a significant oversight because the comparison would presuppose the failure of insurrection as a total revolution).

The tension between nostalgia for rootedness and ecstasy in levity comes to a head in Insurrection's meager explication of a definite program for action. The success of the insurrection depends on maintenance of lines of communication, but the insurrection itself is nothing if not a contagious take-down of the network. The best commentary on this problematic is the IC's usage of the word "complicity," which seems to correspond most closely to standard usage of "affinity." Lesson learned: one can be complicit without knowing what "complicity" means, or what complicity means.

Dinner for Parents

Tonight I made dinner for three. (Wish you were here, Leigh!)


1. Black bean burgers.

2. Zucchini and summer squash fried with onion.

3. Chocolate avocado cake. (Thanks, Izzy Darby!)

The recipe called for 2 c. sugar; I used a little more than 1 c. I also recommend sticking the frosting in the freezer. Or adding some sort of thickener. (Ground flax seed? A bit of flour? Melted chocolate? Yes, next time I think I'll make ganache instead of avocado-based frosting.)

Looks like I haven't posted a recipe for black bean patties yet, so here it is. I forgot to make rice, but lately I've been using 1/4 c. rice in my patties.

makes 4 large patties

1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 jalapeño, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
soy sauce
olive oil
apple cider vinegar
1/3 c. bread crumbs
1/2 c. wheat gluten
1 Tbsp. ground flax seed
2 Tbsp. water
chipotle chili powder
dried cilantro

1. Mash the beans in a large bowl.
2. Sauté the onion, peppers, and garlic in a pan over medium heat. Wait to add the garlic or it might burn.
3. Stir the ground flax seed and water in a small bowl.
4. Mix the contents of the pan into the mashed beans. Pour in some soy sauce and apple cider vinegar (approx. 3 Tbsp. and 1 Tbsp., respectively) and olive oil (something like 1/4 c.). Add the flax seed and water mixture (i.e., a flax egg... I think). Season to taste and mix it all together.
5. Add the breadcrumbs and wheat gluten. Stir with a wooden spoon or whatever you used to mash the beans, then knead until gluten strings form.
6. Fry in some oil in a large pan on medium-high for 10 or so, or as long as it takes to get each side browned and crispy.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

An Address to Albert C. on the Essay as Form

[I'm tutoring the son of one of my dad's old colleagues in writing. In preparation, I got overenthusiastic and wrote this little lesson, totally inappropriate for a freshman in high school.] 

Let's consider two domains that are typically considered distinct, content and form. If you'll allow me to be a bit free and easy with some mathematical terms, I would like to suggest that writing should operate primarily on or at the intersection of content and form, and strive as far as possible to make them coextensive. The essayistic aspiration is a unity of form and content, not a disjunction. 

To collapse these terms is to expand the scope of analysis. To bring the essay into view we need to step back, to introduce (at least initially) some distance. To this end, let's begin with an allegory: the essay as a sort of literary investigative report. First and foremost, the essay is the construction of a case, or an argument, which draws evidence from an archive. The OED defines essay as "[t]he action or process of trying or testing," as in "[a] trial, testing, proof; experiment." One builds a case with respect to an open question, a question which demands an answer. But writing is neither properly forensic nor scientific. While the best questions demand answers, they do not admit them. However it unfolds, the essay remains always in process as ein prozeß. "Case closed" is not something a writer can produce in good faith. 

The primary value of the essay, then, is in openness. But where does it begin? It is important to remember that the essay as form is historically determined. Whether you are aware of precedents or not, the field of your writing is always already circumscribed by the work which has come before. If you pretend to write in a vacuum, your writing will amount to a sum of reactions to unarticulated stimuli, whereas if you take careful account of the essay as an historical form, you will be able to write in response to your forebears. Openness is a positive disposition toward the possibility of dialogic exchange. If you close your subject [I use this word to indicate an opposition between subject and object. Never forget that you are not perceptually privileged. Anything that you can see can see you in turn.], you foreclose the future. The work of the essay is as much in posing new questions as in positing answers.

You should always take care to do justice to your subject and in the name of your subject. You sign your writing, and it is as important to recognize the debt of your signature as it to recognize your debt to language. You have received language; it is a system that you work within. While your signature is somehow unique, it has value only in relation to what it is not, who you are not. This is another way of expressing the imperative do not pretend to write in a vacuum: it is impossible in any case. The essay is a form of address, and as such requires addressees as well as addressors. Consider well who and what you call, who and what calls you.

[Apologies to Theodor Adorno for cribbing the title of "The Essay as Form," which you can download in PDF here.]

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Minimum Wage Peanut Butter & Strawberry Sandwich

Ninety-nine years ago, Massachusetts became the first state to set a minimum wage (for women and children only). I couldn't find a reference to the cent amount, but I did learn that the Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional in 1923. Pesky livelihoods!

The idea for this sandwich comes from my mother, who found inspiration in a magazine while waiting in an office. She can't remember which magazine or what was in it, exactly, only that there was fresh fruit where there normally isn't. Straight line from that revelation to replacing strawberry jam with strawberries from a local farm. Of course I use bananas all the time, but it never occurred to me to use berries because bananas don't replace anything, you know?

This was lunch. Dinner is a Chinese place. Hold the fish sauce, please.

2 slices of bread
peanut butter

1. Spread peanut butter thickly on one slice of bread and thinly on the other.
2. Slice strawberries in half if small, in thirds if large. Arrange on heavily peanut-buttered slice. Close sandwich.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

P. T. Barnum Black Beans, Collards, and Quinoa


P. T. Barnum and his circus started their first tour in 1835. May it one day be infamous. I watched a documentary about a circus elephant and her well-meaning owner last night. Review coming soon, and it's not gonna be pretty.

Dinner tonight was just for me and Mom. Dad's in Dallas. I need to change the name of the blog, because my dinners these days are rarely for one. If anyone's got suggestions, please air them! [Update: Hope you like Vegetal Voracity.]

makes 3-4 servings

3/4 c. quinoa
1 15-oz. can black beans
bundle collard greens, stems chopped and leaves torn
1 c. frozen corn
1/2 c. frozen peas
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
soy sauce
dried cilantro
red pepper flakes
black pepper

1. Simmer quinoa 15 min.
2. Sauté onion in oil in pan over medium-high heat. Toss in collard stems and garlic. Once onion is translucent, add collard leaves. Drizzle with soy sauce.
3. After 6 min. or so, add black beans and seasoning. After another few minutes, add corn and peas. Heat through.

Current reading:
Jacques Derrida, The Animal That Therefore I Am
Franz Kafka, Letters to Friends, Family and Editors

Can't wait to start working on a paper about cats, ticks, elephants, hamsters, personhood, and biopower. Both Derrida's book and Giorgio Agamben's The Open deal heavily with Genesis. I hope I can avoid biblical entanglement, but I won't hold my breath.

John Dewey Curry Chili

John Dewey died June 1, 1952. Haven't read much of his work, but now that I've looked around for things to post, at some point I'd like to read Art as Experience. There's a nice summary of it over at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

I made this dinner for me and my parents last night. And this post ends a months-long hiatus throughout which I'm sure you were forlorn at the loss of new historically and gastronomically educational postings. I'm going to post tonight dinner, too, so I'll keep this one snappy.

makes approx. 6 servings

1 1/2 c. short grain brown rice (you'll need more than this, probably)
1/2 c. red lentils
1 15-oz. can red kidney beans
1 small eggplant, peeled and cubed
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 large red onion, diced
1 16-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 c. cashews
3 c. water
3 cloves garlic
1 jalapeño, diced
2 spoonfuls chili paste with garlic
curry powder
juice of 1/2 lemon

1. Soak cashews in 1 c. water overnight.
2. Simmer rice 45 min.
3. In a large pot, sauté onion in oil for a few minutes over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and sweet potato.
4. In a blender, pureé cashews with water, garlic, and lemon juice.
5. Add 2 c. water, diced tomatoes, chili paste, and curry powder to pot. Cover and simmer for 15 min.
6. Add cashew pureé, jalapeño, and red lentils. After 10 min., add kidney beans. After another 5 min., cut heat.

If you run out of rice it might be nice to have this with some pita bread and an arugula/spinach mix.